We spent two days exploring the wineries of beautiful Northern Michigan. One day on the Mission Peninsula and one day on the Leelanau Peninsula. In total, we visited six wineries. Michael and I have reviewed our top three based on ambiance, assortment of wines and knowledge/friendliness of the staff.
Disclaimer: Michael and I only like dry wines. We do not have much to offer in the way of selection or taste of the sweet wines.
- Mari Vineyards – Mission Peninsula
I may be a bit bias, but Mari was my favorite. It was our first stop and where we got engaged. The views were incredible and the weather could not have been more perfect for a morning on the terrace.
Ambiance: The outside was incredible with a view of the vineyards and the bay. Our view was made even better by being up on the terrace. The inside had a large tasting bar to accommodate many people. Good thing, because it was bachelorette party nation.
Wines: We only tired one red wine and did not do an official tasting since we were up on the terrace alone for our engagement. I came to find out that typically they would serve you wine while you’re up there. We both want to go back to taste more wines here, but really enjoyed the dry red that we had.
Staff: Michael had more interaction with the staff to set up the surprise of the engagement. They were quite accommodating and excited to host our special occasion. They allowed Michael to fly his drone and requested videos and photos to be shared.
2. Chateau Chantal – Mission Peninsula
This was our second stop. We were hyped up on our engagement and enjoyed this winery just as much as Mari. We started with a quick run down of wines at the tasting bar and then took our tasting outside, on their upper deck. We sat with a couple that was also visiting Traverse City for the first time. Michael learned that the couple likes to dive and they had some great tips for him.
Ambiance: Chateau Chantel earns 5 stars for the views outside as well. The view of the rolling vineyards just could not be beat. It could all be enjoyed on their large upper deck. The deck had an outdoor bar with large patio games and covered tables to stay out of the sun. We even snuck a picture in the vineyards on our way out.
Wines: Our favorite wine was the Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2016. We also enjoyed a variety of dry reds and whites. Michael did not care much for the white wines. We ended up buying two bottles of the Reserve.
Staff: The tasting staff was very helpful in finding a dry wine that both Michael and I would like. He provided information on both their regular wines and their reserve wines. It was a busy winery, again with all the bachelorette parties, but the staff kept it moving so we never had to wait.
3. Ciccone Vineyard & Winery – Leelanau Peninsula
We visited Ciccone on Monday, so it was much less crowded and there were no bachelorette parties. We virtually had the place to ourselves!
Ambiance: Again, another winner with rolling vineyards and a large red event barn out back. There was also a view of the lake off in the distance. It was a much smaller winery, which I liked. It had a large fireplace near the tasting bar. Can you imagine enjoying a glass of red wine, fire cackling and snow falling outside? All enjoyed with your loved ones.
Wines: Our favorite wine was the Cassie Red 2016. It is a nice blend of Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Delcetto. There was also a nice variety of dry red and whites.
Staff: Peggy was so sweet and quite knowledgeable in their wines. She made sure to find us both wines that we typically like and challenged us to step out of our comfort zone. With this, I think Michael found some new wines that he surprisingly liked. We ended up joining their wine club and got a great deal on our favorite wine! Ask Michael how many nights he has enjoyed a glass of that wine.
Side note: Ciccone has a great deal for their wine club. If you’re out of state, they allow you to purchase your years worth of wine at one visit. You also get a free tasting every time that you visit the winery. Michael and I are looking forward to trying more of their wines and sharing them with our family and friends.
We definitely plan to go back to Traverse City. There are a so many more wineries that I would like to visit and some that I would like to go back to. Add Traverse City to your bucket list! You will not regret it.
What is your favorite wine? We would love to hear from you!